Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Dartington and Ugborough talks
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:59 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Devon, England
As I mentioned in a previous thread, Roy and I produce occasional newsletters (back-numbers are on our website, and Anna suggested that I publicise parts or all of the latest newsletter. Well, I won't do the whole lot, but here is the piece that we included on two forthcoming talks:

"Our next two ‘Jack Tar’ talks are in Devon, south-west England, in an area known as the South Hams – the word hams is derived from the Old English ‘hamme’, meaning an enclosed or sheltered place. The first talk is on Wednesday 15th July 2009, 11.30am, at the Dartington Ways with Words literary festival (near Totnes). Please note the change of time from what we have previously mentioned. This is an illustrated talk, called ‘Nelson’s Navy’ in the programme, and it takes place in the Barn Theatre. Tickets cost £8 and can be purchased online from their website ( The festival itself is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, and you can even book for a residential weekend, for 5 days or for 10 days, and these packages include tickets that give you free entrance to most events.

The festival takes place at Dartington Hall, a conference centre that until recently housed the Dartington College of Arts (but which merged in 2008 with University College Falmouth). Dartington Hall was described by Nikolaus Pevsner in 1952 in his book The Buildings of England: South Devon as ‘the most spectacular medieval mansion of Devon’. Most of the Hall was built in the late 14th century by John Holand, and after his death in 1400 his wife Elizabeth continued to live there. She was the daughter of John of Gaunt and the sister of Henry IV. A century and a half later Dartington was in the possession of the Champernowne family, and various alterations were made to the buildings. Luckily the place escaped Victorian renovation, although the adjacent St Mary’s church was demolished in 1878, with the exception of the tower, which can still be visited.

From the late 19th century the estate declined, and in 1925 the ruined buildings of Dartington Hall and 1,000 acres were purchased by Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst, who set about creating a revolutionary school and bringing the estate back to life. Around the restored buildings today are spectacular gardens, which are open at all times free of charge. The website for Dartington Hall is, and includes pictures of the gardens and buildings.

Our second talk will be at Ugborough, near Plymouth, and will take place at 8pm on Trafalgar Day, 21st October, on what will be the 204th anniversary of the battle. We know that many of you were disappointed when the library at nearby Ivybridge had to cancel our ‘Tars and Tarts’ talk back in April, but we have since been invited to give a talk with the same name at Ugborough village hall, which is just off The Square, postcode PL21 0NJ for those of you who need this for your sat nav (though please note that parking in the village is limited, so you are advised to share cars if at all possible). You can take a look at the village by going to ‘Google maps’. As we said in our adverts for the previous talk, come dressed as a tar or tart if you wish (though this is optional!). The talk is hosted by the Ugborough Local History Group, and entrance is free to members. For non-members turn up on the night and pay £1 – surely this must be the recession’s cheapest night out! All are very welcome.

Although Ugborough is not too far from where we live, we have never visited this large village. The unusual place-name may derive from ‘Ugga’s fortified place’. On one side of The Square is a large impressive church dedicated to St Peter, dating from the 14th century and with a tower 94 foot high. We hope to see some of you at these talks."

And of course, we would love to meet some of you from this forum at either of these talks, if you can manage it. If not, pass the word round to anyone who can!

Lesley Adkins

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